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FAQs on Fresh to Brackish Water Gobioid Fishes

Related Articles: Gobies and Sleepers: The Low-Down On These Quirky Bottom-Dwellers by Neale Monks, Fresh to Brackish Gobioid Fishes, Fresh to Brackish Fishes, Archerfishes, Brackish Water Crabs, Brackish Plants

Related FAQs: Archerfishes, Monos, Scats,

Re: Goby Trouble /Neale     5/27/18
Thank you!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Epsom salts, peacock gudgeons and blockages    10/1/17
Hi Crew! Everything has been ticking along quite nicely in my aquariums, my murderous penguin tetras have settled down into a much better behaved school and the yoyo loaches I added to keep the tetras in line are
completely delightful. I have also added some peacock gudgeons to this tank, although they are a smaller fish, they have no issues feeding at the surface along side the rambunctious loaches and they are ignored by the
tetras as they stay in the bottom half of the tank most of the time.
<Ah yes>
I previously have had a couple of gudgeons die to what appeared like being egg-bound, swelling of the anus and a grapelike cluster of eggs protruding.
I had more females than males to start with and the males could not keep up with the females. But now I have an issue with a male with a protrusion from the anus.
<Does appear to be a prolapse>
I've attached a picture of the poor fellow in question. He is one of the fry from my first batch of gudgeons, grown into a nice looking young fish.
However he seems to have a prolapse, it is a clear fluid filled globe where his anus should be. I noticed it a couple of weeks ago and left him alone since it wasn't very big and it didn't seem to be bothering him. However
it is now at least twice the size that it was before and I don't think it is doing him any good. I'm worried that if he gets into a scuffle with one of his fellow gudgeon tankmates he might rupture it or something.
I feed these fish grindal worms, fruit fly larvae, crushed flake and crushed pellets, and sometimes peas. The gudgeons don't like dried brine shrimp or dried Tubifex. I wonder if this fish has eaten a non-food item
(a piece of substrate maybe) and gotten a blockage?
I wonder if these fish have a narrow passage and are prone to blockages (or maybe the 2 females I lost were simply egg-bound and this is unrelated). They are pretty fussy eaters though so I'm not sure that they'd swallow non-food items. Is it possible that this could be caused by an internal infection?
<This is also a possibility>
I wormed this tank after I'd had the yoyos for a while so I don't suspect worms.
In any case I remembered Epsom salts as the treatment to reduce swelling and came across 1 tbs per 5 gallons - this is a 40 gallon tank.
I didn't have a tablespoon measure at hand so I decided to start adding a smaller amount and monitor how the fish handle it, and increase it over time. I decided to treat the whole tank rather than the impossibility of singling
out and catching this one fish. Anyway I started with 4 dessertspoons dissolved in water, slowly added it to the tank, waited a while and everyone was fine, so added 4 more dessertspoons. As far as my reckoning goes 1 tablespoon = 2 dessert spoons = 4 teaspoons (Also I was using Australian measurements which go tbs = 20ml, tsp = 5ml). However I've been reading a bit more trying to find how slowly I should be adding this and came across the dosage to be 1 TEASPOON per 5 gallons. So I've now added about 16 teaspoons to this 40 gallon tank. None of the fish seem particularly worried by the extra GH so I thought I'd write in and check which dosage is right! Have I added too much?
<I wouldn't add any more than this here>
Is it worth trying to isolate this one fish - and does anyone know if this fish is prone to blockages?
<Have sent your message to Neale Monks here who knows much more than I on the subject. I would drop the dried foods for now, and offer live or frozen/defrosted Brine Shrimp or Daphnia if you can find these; or other
small crustacean fare... for laxative effect>
Thanks again for all that you do!
Bronwen Nottle
<Thank you for sharing. Bob Fenner>
Epsom salts, peacock gudgeons and blockages /Neale   10/1/17

Hi Crew! Everything has been ticking along quite nicely in my aquariums, my murderous penguin tetras have settled down into a much better behaved school and the yoyo loaches I added to keep the tetras in line are
completely delightful.
<Sounds good.>
I have also added some peacock gudgeons to this tank, although they are a smaller fish, they have no issues feeding at the surface along side the rambunctious loaches and they are ignored by the tetras as they stay in the
bottom half of the tank most of the time.
<Good. These are nice fish, but touchy about water chemistry.>
I previously have had a couple of gudgeons die to what appeared like being egg-bound, swelling of the anus and a grapelike cluster of eggs protruding.
I had more females than males to start with and the males could not keep up with the females. But now I have an issue with a male with a protrusion from the anus.
<I can see this. Not uncommon to see the genital papilla somewhat extended.
Whether it's a dietary issue, an infection such as Hexamita, related to water chemistry, or something else entirely is hard to say.>
I've attached a picture of the poor fellow in question. He is one of the fry from my first batch of gudgeons, grown into a nice looking young fish.
However he seems to have a prolapse, it is a clear fluid filled globe where his anus should be. I noticed it a couple of weeks ago and left him alone since it wasn't very big and it didn't seem to be bothering him. However it
is now at least twice the size that it was before and I don't think it is doing him any good. I'm worried that if he gets into a scuffle with one of his fellow gudgeon tankmates he might rupture it or something.
<A risk, but more often than not these things fix themselves with a high-fibre, low-protein diet and the use of Epsom salt to act as a laxative.>
I feed these fish grindal worms, fruit fly larvae, crushed flake and crushed pellets, and sometimes peas. The gudgeons don't like dried brine shrimp or dried Tubifex. I wonder if this fish has eaten a non-food item (a piece of substrate maybe) and gotten a blockage?
<Possibly, but seems unlikely. For a start, a blockage would quickly cause the death of the fish. Also, fish don't have throats as simple as ours, and while they do shovel in sand and stuff, by the time it gets to the gill chamber and pharyngeal teeth, the fish has plenty of time to sift out such inedible particles and pass them out.>
I wonder if these fish have a narrow passage and are prone to blockages (or maybe the 2 females I lost were simply egg-bound and this is unrelated).
They are pretty fussy eaters though so I'm not sure that they'd swallow non-food items. Is it possible that this could be caused by an internal infection? I wormed this tank after I'd had the yoyos for a while so I don't suspect worms.
<An Hexamita infection is certainly a possibility, or some other type of intestinal parasite. Metronidazole is probably the drug of choice here.>
In any case I remembered Epsom salts as the treatment to reduce swelling and came across 1 tbs per 5 gallons - this is a 40 gallon tank. I didn't have a tablespoon measure at hand so I decided to start adding a smaller amount and monitor how the fish handle it, and increase it over time. I decided to treat the whole tank rather than the impossibility of singling out and catching this one fish.
<A fine approach. Epsom salt has very low toxicity, and makes a useful short-term medication because of this.>
Anyway I started with 4 dessertspoons dissolved in water, slowly added it to the tank, waited a while and everyone was fine, so added 4 more dessertspoons. As far as my reckoning goes 1 tablespoon = 2 dessert spoons
= 4 teaspoons (Also I was using Australian measurements which go tbs = 20ml, tsp = 5ml).
<In any event, 1 Imperial teaspoon is about 6 gram Epsom salt, and you're aiming for a dosage of 1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres.>
However I've been reading a bit more trying to find how slowly I should be adding this and came across the dosage to be 1 TEASPOON per 5 gallons. So I've now added about 16 teaspoons to this 40 gallon tank.
<So about 180 litres? That's 9 x 1-3 teaspoons, i.e., 9-27 teaspoons.>
None of the fish seem particularly worried by the extra GH so I thought I'd write in and check which dosage is right! Have I added too much?
<See above.>
Is it worth trying to isolate this one fish - and does anyone know if this fish is prone to blockages?
<Sleeper Gobies are somewhat prone to mild prolapses, yes. Yours is a bit more severe than usual though.>
Thanks again for all that you do!
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Can you help me identify goby sp     8/24/17
Hello crew, as always, i hope you are doing fine.
<Hello Roberto,>
This time i am writing to you in hopes you can help me identify a certain goby my LFS has brought in. They said they were collected from a local river that's probably 40 km away from the sea. The only photo i have is the one posted on their FB page. This is El Salvador, central America, most water here is ph 7.8 or up. GH and KH come at the minimum of 6 and 6 and maximum of 16 and 14 depending on where you are (i have taken the time to test several tap waters from across the country).
Are these a freshwater? or strictly brackish water specimens? i have a national biotope tank that could use a couple of these guys.
<Almost certainly something from the Sicydiinae subfamily of gobies. At first glance I'd have said (a female) Stiphodon; look at female Stiphodon maculidorsalis for example. But Stiphodon are from Asia and various Pacific islands, not the Americas. However, while Sicydium species are found in the Americas, only one, Sicydium multipunctatum, is reported by Fishbase to occur in El Salvador. You could start at Fishbase, here:
http://www.fishbase.org/identification/SpeciesList.php?class=Actinopterygii&order=Perciformes& famcode=405&subfamily=Sicydiinae&genus=Sicydium&areacode=2&c_code=&spines=& fins=&resultPage=1&sortby=species
Yet your fish doesn't look much like Sicydium multipunctatum to me! It "feels" like a Stiphodon in all honesty, which is annoying. Could this fish have been purchased from a tropical fish shop and somehow confused with specimens collected locally? In any event, Stiphodon and Sicydium are very consistent in requirements. Freshwater, moderate to high water current, lots of oxygen. Feed primarily on 'aufwuchs' so some combination of algae and small invertebrates required. Sociable, though the males are mildly territorial. Good for Hillstream biotope tanks, not really suitable for general communities. Complex life cycle whereby eggs are laid in freshwater, hatchlings are planktonic and drift to sea, develop at sea, then metamorphose into baby fish able to swim into estuaries and upstream to mountain streams.>
Thanks again!
<Welcome. Neale.>

Not our pic

Re: Can you help me identify goby sp     8/25/17
Hello. Thanks for the reply.
I might give them a try myself. They have been sitting in the fish store for about a month now. Nobody´s buying them because people rarely get the oddballs here. But gobies to me are fascinating (if only I could get Stiphodon atropurpureus...). The biotope tank I speak of has moderate current. Lots of big rocks for 2 female convicts and a Cutteri to hide, and a school of characins collected in the upper streams.
<Personally, I would NOT keep these gobies with cichlids. Too likely to compete for living space, and the gobies will come off worse. Midwater tetras and livebearers should be fine though.>
It is designed like the upper streams found in mountains here. Strong light to recreate the types of algae that are found there. So I may try these guys and see if they work out. I have cultures of daphnia and have access to Artemia. Would those be good?
<Yes indeed, all good. Provided they can graze slowly, these fish aren't difficult to feed. The problem comes when they're forced to snap up food quickly before the other fish eat it. These gobies aren't adapted for that. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Can you help me identify goby sp     8/25/17
Do you think they can be taught to eat sinking flake/algae wafers/granules?

<Yes, but not if they have to compete for them. These gobies are classic 'aufwuchs' feeders that graze slowly on wood and rocks. So they'll certainly nibble at an algae wafer they come across. But probably they won't zip about like tetras or guppies. That's why I say they're bad community tank fish, but good biotope aquarium fish. Don't keep them with community fish that eat sinking flake and pellets. But do keep them with surface swimming minnows in a Hillstream tank. Minnows won't take food from the bottom, leaving the gobies plenty of time to feed. Do research Stiphodon in aquaria -- they're widely kept, and your gobies are from the same subfamily and almost certainly the same in terms of care. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Can you help me identify goby sp      9/23/17
Hello, again!
I figured you could be interested in how the guys fared in my tanks.
Upon going back to the LFS and observing the fish carefully i realized they actually had 2 species of gobies mixed! One is the Sicydium sp. which i showed you a photo about, and also looks exactly like these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1LN5d2pHlk
The other was... well... different. I got three of the Sicydium sp and two of the other one. Upon observation i realized the unknown species preferred dwelling on the floor and actually went for flake food rather vigorously, while the Sicydium sp. preferred to stay anchored to rocks, wood, walls, etc.
I have identified the unknown species as an Awaous sp. For now i have kept the Sicydium in a moderate current tank with intense lighting to promote algae growth. They seem to be grazing but haven't really touched flake or anything. I have Microworms so I'm considering tossing a few and hope they get them. Out of the three Sicydium, one died a few days later. It had a very large head to body ratio compared to the others, which made me think it was thin, emaciated. the other two seem to be doing fine, grazing upon Anubias and ferns. The Awaous are kept in a planted tank with very clean water, and they go on and about all day searching the floor for food.
Some Awaous species grow quite big according to Fishbase, could these become a problem for the smaller tetras i have in that tank? (red phantom, black phantoms.) I like the Awaous a lot, very interesting fish, they sometimes swim up in a very unique pattern, probably characteristic of gobies.
As, always, thank you.
A unknown Sicydium spec from Colombia - YouTube<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1LN5d2pHlk>
This is a short movie about a unknown Sicydium spec from Colombia, They are wild caught and they came in as Awaous tasjica.
<Hello Roberto. In general terms, Awaous and Sicydium are similar in care -- plenty of water current, aufwuchs-based diet, and largely ignoring their tankmates. I guess the larger Awaous might, conceivably, consume a sleepy tetra, but that's pretty unlikely. I've kept Awaous flavus, and it's a pretty inoffensive fish even at its full size around 10 cm/4 inches. It is a "sand sifter" though, so I'd suggest you offer things like bloodworms scattered over a sandy area. It should consume those quite readily (mine did, anyway) though as aufwuchs-feeders, you really do want some algae-based foods in there too, such as Spirulina-enriched brine shrimp. Microworms are certainly worth a shot. Do note that (some) Awaous can be quite short lived, maybe even annuals, so excessively high temperatures are not useful. Hope this helps! Neale.>

How many T. ocellicauda can live happily in a 41 L tank?    1/18/17
Hello WWM people. I know Dr. Monks in your group keeps peacock gudgeons/gobies (T. ocellicauda), so if he's around, maybe he could help?
<Fire away!>
I have a new nano tank, 10.7 US gallons/41 litres, 45 cm x 30 cm x 30 cm.
I used to have a larger tank (30 us gallons) that I had to break down and sell because I moved. Now I'm setting up this new smaller tank in my smaller living space. Peacock gudgeons are my favorite fish of all of the ones I've kept thus far, so I'd like to have just those in my new nano tank. How many can I reasonably keep in this tank, assuming it's moderately
planted and there are no other inhabitants? Filter is going to be a power filter rated for 10 gallons.
<Well, a single male and 2-4 females would probably be fine. Since they're not sexually dimorphic, it's not like you'd be stuck with there dowdy-looking females. But if you wanted pairs, I think you might be able to keep two pairs, but you'd need to be extremely careful about having hollow ornaments of some sort where the males could 'stake their claims'
without being in plain sight of each other. In 10 gallons, if the two males decide not to tolerate one another, there's not a lot of hiding space. So you want to pre-empt that as far as practical.>
I'd love to be able to keep a quartet of gudgeons if possible -- two males, two females, if at all possible. But is that overstocking it?
<Not as such; these gobies aren't particularly active or heavy feeders, so water quality should be fine.>
Please note there will be driftwood and plants to help break up sight lines.
<Good move. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: How many T. ocellicauda can live happily in a 41 L tank?      1/19/17

Thanks so much!
Yes, I am purchasing two 2.5 cm-in-diameter caves to use for each male to have his own space.
<Good luck; sounds a very attractive aquarium you're going to have there!
Cheers, Neale.>

Peacock Gudgeon Tateurndina ocellicauda tank combos?       8/6/16
Hi Neale,
I have been doing a lot of reading and considering what to put in my 29 gallon tank next. I read your article on 8 Fun Gobies and when I saw the Peacock gudgeon, saw him on YouTube and he is totally gorgeous and friendly too. However, I'm not turning up so much about their habitat-- what would be a good biotope. I've read they can be found in rivers though. I also read it should be housed with higher level fish so they don't compete with food... but this little guy eats bloodworms, so I wonder, could they be kept with algae eating bottom feeder like a Blue Neon Goby (Microsicydium atropurpureum, Microsicydium formosum)? And since they both occur in rivers, would the habitat of the Blue Neon be compatible with the Peacock or would they dislike the turbulence?
<The latter; the Neon-type gobies (there are many) alongside the widely traded Stiphodon species are Sicydiinae, a subfamily of goby adapted to hillstream environments. Coolish water, lots of oxygen, and a diet based around aufwuchs is what they need. Quite adaptable in the short term, but long term, they probably do need quite specific conditions to thrive.>
I'd read the Hillstream Loach works well with blue neon goby. I'm sure he'd be fine with both.
<Correct; the hillstream biotope is what the Neon Gobies need. Unlike the Peacock Gudgeons that are classic sleeper gobies (Eleotridae) that favour sluggish if not still water habitats.>
My water is VERY hard, and it is high PH of 7.8. Can these species tolerate that?
<Hillstream gobies will probably be fine with it, since they're oceanic gobies with a marine larval stage. But the Peacock Gudgeons really do look better in soft water with a neutral pH.>
This tank would be a lot of work to set up... I want to add more plant life and have large stones and get the algae growing on them. I am talented at growing algae, lol. I could do stones in a small tank then move them to the large one. I just wanted to check with you if my parameters are good, combination of those fish are good, and if the environment is nice for all of them if I create a biotope for Blue Neon Goby and add Peacock Gudgeon to the mix.
<I don't see the two species overlapping. On the other hand Neons might work okay with Rhinogobius species, despite their much different distribution.>
For another totally different option if the above isn't the best idea, I'm thought maybe Norman's Lampeyes and Peacock Gudgeon. I read they tolerate a higher PH, but do you think my water is far less than ideal for them? I also read they were a good tankmate for Peacock Gudgeon? If i did heavily planted tank with both of those would that be more or less a good idea than the Blue Neon Goby with Peacock Goby??
<Lampeyes and Peacock Gudgeons should work, though not in very hard water; 2-12 degrees dH, pH 6-7.5 would be my suggestion. In very hard water, better options would be things like Chlamydogobius eremius, which are hardy and easy to breed.>
Anyway, below are the links but I'm sure you already know all these species since you specialize in interesting types of aquarium fish.
<Well, have kept them, at least, and spawned some of these gobies (including Peacocks) but not raised their fry.>
Thanks Neale, being new to this hobby it helps to look before I leap when making a major change to a tank. And since it's only 29 gallons, there are only so many smaller fish that like my water and I think I've covered them all now in reading and near ready to decide and move forward!
<Hope this helps! Neale.>
Re: Peacock Gudgeon Tateurndina ocellicauda tank combos?      8/8/16

Thanks Neale.
<Welcome, Jill.>
I am sad about the peacock goby, but there are many fish I shouldn't keep here. Great about the cool neon blue gobies which I was afraid I couldn't keep!!! I am leaning towards this hillstream theme now. I like the idea of a river biotope. I would like to stock 5 neon blue gobies, 1 river loach, then is there a small schooling fish, 1- 1.5" range, that likes the
current and water type?
<Pretty much any streamlined barb, Danio or Rasbora will thrive in this.
White Cloud Mountain Minnows and their Vietnamese relatives, Tanichthys micagemmae, are also good choices with the smaller gobies and loaches.>
I have a few lime green Endler's in there now but afraid current will not be good so am planning to move them to another tank.
<Correct; Guppies are adapted to still or sluggish water, such as canals and ponds. Swordtails are more streamlined and inhabit streams, and can work nicely with gobies and hillstream loaches of similar size, though they will be competing for algae, so wouldn't be my first choice of tankmate.>
I looked at white clouds since they're common for this theme but they're to 2 inches and I want a large school so I should probably go smaller, maybe to 1.5" max. I am hoping to find a brightly colored smaller fish to add for lots of interest and activity without overstocking. I only have 29 gallons so I'm limited.
<Tanichthys of either species would be ideal for this system, and a dozen or two wouldn't overstock a 29-gallon system with decent filtration.
Indeed, getting 18-20 minnows, plus half a dozen gobies sounds fine to me.
None of these fish are messy or big.>
Would either of the other 2 fish we discussed earlier, Dusty Millions or Swamp Guppies enjoy this tank with high current? They are both attractive enough I might even do a smaller school with them if they get larger.
<Micropoecilia parae and Micropoecilia picta are both adapted to relatively weak water currents, as the "swamp" part of Micropoecilia picta's name suggests. Micropoecilia parae is a little more streamlined and a better swimmer, but neither is an obvious choice for a hillstream biotope.>
I am wanting a fish for midlevel tank activity with nice color and playfulness in the current since the other fish, while beautiful, mostly congregate around sucking on algae all day! However, I have never seen either of these 2 fish Dusty Millions or Swamp Guppies locally and so I would like to know several more common varieties that I could use, or try
ordering...which I will probably need to do anyway for the neon gobies.
<You might look at Alfaro cultratus, Xiphophorus multilineatus and many of the Goodeidae as possible options for tanks with brisk currents.>
How sensitive are these neon goby and hillstream loach fish to water temps too? It is unheated and at 77 degrees right now at 6:30am during August, our hottest month. That could possibly rise to 78 during day. Outside temps are hitting 100 degrees. General the thermostat is set for 78 except when I am doing a lot of busy work or cooking sometimes I crank it to 75-77 range, but the majority or time it is set at 78. The tanks are in a west facing room. I guess I could purchase blackout curtains, but I have a lot of plants in there too...I would need to rearrange everything.
<Seasonal high temperatures are rarely a big deal, especially if you can kick up the aeration a bit. It's the (lack of) oxygen that kills rather than temperature per se. But 365-days of high temperatures are a no-no.>
I guess I could buy ice cube trays on Amazon and freeze prepared fish tank water and drop some in each morning and evening? How many trays would you suggest for a 29 gallon if this is a good idea? I would probably only need to do this in summer, and empty corresponding amounts of water too maybe at the time of adding the cubes.
<People certain do employ systems like this. I'd suggest a 1-litre or similar plastic container (like the sort used to hold ice cream), fill it with water, freeze, and then simply float as-is in the water. But this is really only on extreme days. A few days or even a couple weeks in the high 70s/low 80s isn't going to kill hillstream fish provided water current and
oxygenation are sufficient.>
Thanks again.
Have a nice weekend.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Peacock Gudgeon Tateurndina ocellicauda tank combos?       9/5/16

Almost ready to set up this 30 gallon to a Hillstream tank. I bought a 2nd tank for the Endler's that is 23 gallons. Could the Endler's live with some Norman's lampeyes?
<Yes, so long as water chemistry is appropriate.>
They wouldn't cross breed, would they?
I read they're related.
<Only in the sense that we're related to cats! They come from completely different families of fish.>
I plan to have a lot of plants in this tank. Having trouble coming up with companion for Endler's. Cory or Otto are small, but different water requirements, but I guess adaptable according to LFS.
<Yes. Provided water isn't too hard, Corydoras and Otocinclus are adaptable. Corydoras habrosus for example would be ideal, and after the tank has been run a few months, a school of Otocinclus is worth a shot (they need a mature tank with plenty of algae and aufwuchs).>
For the 30 gallon Hill stream setup:
I am leaning towards rosy barbs, attractive fish that likes current. If I feed some boiled zucchini or peas in mornings and some frozen bloodworm or daphnia in evenings and do partial water change weekly, would this help rosy barbs not to nibble on Anubias? I have a little black hair algae that showed up after I switched to led lighting and I read they nibble this... Hoping they could nibble algae on leaves but not plant itself.
<Barbs shouldn't do any harm to Anubias; much too tough.>
Other thought is to throw some softer leaf grassy plant in there too to divert them from Anubias. Would Sagittarius or the other similar one handle current if put in corner away from it? Or is there a better recommendation?
<Sagittaria can do well in brisk currents. In fact most aquatic plants with tape-like leaves have evolved for just such conditions.>
The neon gobies are so tiny and expensive too. Would barbs ignore this little fish on the bottom?
<I wouldn't bank on it. Neon Gobies (if we're talking Stiphodon spp.) get a reasonable size, but I wouldn't trust them with fish substantially bigger than they are. A smaller barb species would be a better choice in this situation.>
I leaning towards just having rosy barbs and a couple hill stream loaches.
I like plants too though....hoping I can make this work. If I got just one neon blue goby is that alright? Haven't read of them being social.
<The males hold small territories, the females scoot about singly or in groups. Much like other gobies, really.>
Do rosy barbs nibble crypts? Those are so prolific, maybe they'd divert them from Anubias where damage is more visible.
<Agreed, but Rosy Barbs are greedy fish, and do get quite big, 10 cm/4 inches, and such fish will destroy small plants. Often the problem isn't eating whole leaves, but biting chunks out of all of them, and in that way weakening the entire plant by causing all the leaves to rot.>
I am hoping they would just eat the algae off the Anubias and leave plant alone!
<Anubias and Java Fern are two good choices here.>
Thank you for your expert advice and suggestions. You are kind to make yourself available to the forums.
<Most welcome, and thanks for the kind words! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Peacock Gudgeon Tateurndina ocellicauda tank combos?       9/5/16

thank you. [��]
<Most welcome! Neale.>

Gobies... FW, gen., child... More re stkg.       6/19/14
Hi, I hope all of you are doing well. I have written before inquiring about different fish and compatibility. I am in the process of setting up an innovative marine 38 gallon tank. This is the smallest tank I have ever
tried and now I kind of wish I had bought a bigger one, but oh well!
Anyway, I have a couple of questions if you do not mind. First, I know for sure I am going to have at least 6 cories of some sort and I want to know if there were any particular type of goby that would be compatible with them that are also easy to keep.
<As a rule: don't keep Gobies with Catfish or Loaches. Gobies are bottom feeders, but they generally feed very slowly. In the wild they snap at zooplankton or sift the substrate, but in aquaria those two options aren't available, so they have to make do finding stuff that floats by them.
Problem is, they're not adapted to snuffle about like Catfish or Loaches, and without special feeding, can starve. There are some largish gobies that are bold enough to compete with Corydoras, such as Awaous strigatus, but generally it's best to keep Gobies with midwater feeders (such as tetras or livebearers) so that they can feed properly at their own speed.>
Also, I had considered stocking with white cloud minnows but decided that they swim a little too fast for me. I am trying to find 2 or 3 types of fish that are hardy, fairly slow swimmers (more peaceful) that between them all will inhabit both the top and middle levels of the tank. I am leaning towards the sword and platy species. I know they are compatible with cories.
<Yes, eminently so.>
I also have considered red shrimp. I know they should be kept in groups of 6 and that I should get small species of cories to keep them from being eaten, unless the platy and swords will eat them?
<Swordtails are pretty big and may well eat them, but Platies are worth a
flutter. Generally, Cherry Shrimps do okay with fish provided the tank is
densely planted so they can feel secure. Amano Shrimps are a bit bigger and
safer, but of course they don't breed. I like to keep a special Cherry
Shrimp tank going in the kitchen where they breed freely, and just add
surplus offspring to my community tank. That way, if they don't all survive
in there for one reason or another, I've still got the original
I am sorry for rambling on. I will close with this: If you could
recommend a hardy grouping of compatible fish that will do OK in a 38
gallon (2 feet across) tank I would appreciate it.
<Have a look to see if your retailer can get hold of Ricefish such as Oryzias woworae and Oryzias dancena. Hardy, pretty, easy to breed, not hyperactive but always swimming about in the open. Also review the more
oddball livebearers. Limia nigrofasciata is one of my favourites; it's like a cross between a Platy and a Sailfin Molly, but golden coloured. Also look at Phalloceros caudimaculatus. There are lots of these quirky livebearers
out there, and fish clubs are often the best place to get hold of them, often for tiny amounts of money!>
Thank you so much for your time and have a great weekend.
<Will try to, Neale.>

To Neale Monks: correction on something you've written re: peacock gobies/gudgeons; fdg.      10/2/13
Hi Neale,
I am a big fan of your advice and your site. Thanks to your recommendations for fish to try, I now have a thriving colony of peacock gudgeons (Tateurnida ocellicauda). I had never heard of them until reading about them in one of your articles.
So, I'm just writing in to correct something you wrote about peacock gudgeons that I have found to be incorrect. You state on your site that they won't eat flake or freeze dried foods. I don't know about the flakes, but I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is at least one freeze dried food my gudgeons love: freeze dried blackworms. In fact, freeze dried blackworms are now the staple food I provide for my gudgeons, supplemented with live grindal worms. They turn up their noses at freeze-dried krill, interestingly enough. But blackworms they gobble down.
They will even eat freeze dried blackworms from the surface of the water! I just wanted to share my personal observation with you. I should add that my gudgeons come from several different sources so I could have a genetically diverse crew for breeding, but all of them still love the freeze-dried blackworms.
<Hello Adrienne. Thanks for this extra bit of information (and the kind words). Your report on Peacock Gobies eating freeze-dried blackworms is interesting and definitely a convenience for people who prefer not to use frozen foods. I would agree with you that adding at least some live (or frozen) foods would be useful, because dried foods can sometimes cause constipation in fish. Total aside, but for some reason my cat happily eats bits of freshly baked spelt bread, and I'm pretty sure most cats wouldn't!
So I guess to some degree what you feed your Peacocks will come down to experimentation and patience. So long as you offer a variety of things, it's all good! Cheers, Neale.>
Re: To Neale Monks: correction on something you've written re: peacock gobies/gudgeons   10/3/13

Dr. Monks,
Cats eating bread is not that unusual! My two current cats both love bread, and will even beg for fresh bread. A former cat of mine also liked bread. I made the result of leaving a store-bought loaf in plastic on the counter once, and the next morning there were crumbs EVERYWHERE -- she had chewed through the plastic to get to the bread.
Unfortunately, my husband used to think it was funny to try to feed the cats junk food, too. They also beg for French fries and corn chips now, too, if they smell them.
<I do think they're going for the fat and salt here rather than the chips.
Cats have a poor sense of taste but a good sense of smell (they can't taste sugar at all, I believe) so likely get attracted to foods that have key "smells" that would be attractive to any carnivore, such as fat and salt (blood being salty).>
I have one question for you: how often is it OK to feed fish grindal worms?
<A couple times a week is likely fine, but they are fatty, and generally used as a "growing on" food for fry (which need lots of energy) rather than a staple.>
Someone in my fish club said that they are too high in fat and should only be fed once a week.
<This is certainly something often stated in the hobby.>
I would like to feed the gudgeons the freeze-dried blackworms five times a week and the grindals twice a week. Is that OK? I also try to supplement their diet with crushed baby Ramshorn snails, which they love.
<Sounds like a plan. Cheers, Neale.>

Red Stiphodon goby   4/23/2011
Local fish store just got in a shipment of what they are calling "Red Stiphodon Gobies." I'm unable to determine exact species.
<Indeed, there are many Stiphodon sp. in the trade, including "Red Neon" and "Sumatran Red" Stiphodon.>
Based on what I read in Neale's write-up on fresh/brackish gobies here on WetWebMedia, these are larger than the typical Stiphodon--I'm told as large as 3 inches as received by the LFS .
Are any Stiphodon species that large as juveniles?
<Sure. Some can get to about 10 cm/4 inches.>
I don't want to buy adults since Stiphodon spp. are so short-lived. I don't get many Google hits for "red Stiphodon goby" so I'm having trouble finding reliable information to help me decide whether it's worth buying.
They are rather pricey.
<At least some of their short-lived quality comes from poor care. They do need coolish (~22 C/72 F) water and the right diet to do well. In most tropical aquaria they rarely last for long, partly through starvation.
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Red Stiphodon goby   4/23/2011
Thanks Neale, I've decided to let somebody else buy them.
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Apistogramma Cacatuoides tankmates  6/23/11
I have eggs with eyes on the desert gobies already. One week after import.
<Great! Let me know what happens. Cheers, Neale.>

911 goby sick! 9/28/10
Here are pictures.
<Uhh, so blurry I can barely tell it's sideways>
The first white patch was noticed Sunday. Monday I saw it spread. Overnight it's spread 3x. It doesn't look sugary (Ich) or fluffy like fungus. It looks like a film or as if his skin is turning white and falling off. Please help! It's spreading so fast I fear by tomorrow he'll be dead.
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/mardisindex.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/eleotridfaqs.htm
and quick. Bob Fenner>


Re: Redigobius balteatus food 9/7/2010
Hi Neale,
How are you?
<I'm fine Michelle, thanks for asking!>
I was wondering if you know if Redigobius balteatus are omnivorous or carnivore? In your book Naomi mentions some gobies are omnivore.
<Well, they're more carnivorous than herbivorous, since they feed primarily on zooplankton and other tiny animals. But yes, many gobies will consume some algae from time to time. That said, the upwards-pointing mouth of Redigobius is more consistent with snapping at food items drifting by them than scraping at green algae from rocks or mud.>
My Redigobius balteatus are now eating frozen Formula One, and I was wondering if I should add Formula Two into the mix.
<Try it and see! Certainly won't do any harm at all.>
I was also thinking about trying my hand at some homemade food and was wondering if they would benefit from baby food mixed in such as green beans, peas, squash, or pumpkin.
<All these things would be harmless and well worth trying. Do have a read here:
At the moment the only plant/algae they are getting is when I feed spirulina enhanced brine shrimp.
<A good food item.>
Your thoughts are appreciated!
<Sounds like you've anticipated a fun project. Let me know what happens!
Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Redigobius balteatus food
Thanks! I was looking at that article, that got me brainstorming. I'll let you know what happens. :)
<It's cool article. I think Bob F. has a similar one for marine fish, and that'd be eminently suitable for brackish water gobies. I've asked Bob where the recipe is, because I can't find it. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Redigobius balteatus food (Bob, where's the Marine Mash recipe?)
<I'd use the one here:
Okay, I found it in The Conscientious Marine Aquarist.
Bob mentions thawing out any frozen foods, and then later freezing them again, is that okay to do?
<Yes. I'd just not have all come to "room temperature", lay set out for an extended period of time>
I thought not. I do have some lobster eggs I'd love to put in but they are frozen:
<Yes... okay to defrost to the extent of mixing... Bob Fenner>
Re: Redigobius balteatus food (Bob, where's the Marine Mash recipe?)    9/8/10

Hi Bob,
Thanks for the link!
<Welcome Mich>
Regarding putting frozen food in, I am going to use gel to bind it and that needs boiling water. Will frozen food be okay with boiling water being added in?
<Yes, though better to use alginate rather than gelatin... and not to have too hot if having to blend in water at high temperature when the other ingredients are added. BobF>

Identifying a freshwater (brackish?) goby -- 3/14/10
I'm hoping you can help me identify a goby purchased recently from my local petstore. The fish in question came in the bag with a special order of loaches I placed and the fish dept head was unable to ID what kind of goby it was.
<"Mystery gobies" are very difficult to identify. The family contains about 2000 species, and many of them are very difficult to tell apart unless viewed under a microscope. Bumblebee gobies are the classic examples, being virtually impossible to identify reliably to species level without access to dead specimens and a dissecting microscope. In any case, if you go to Fishbase, choose to display species, and then select Asian Inland Waters from the pull-down menu (assuming it was captured with the loaches) you'll get 360 species to choose from. Yes, we're talking big numbers here.
For what it's worth, it might even be a Sleeper (Gudgeon) rather than a Goby; Sleepers lack the fused pelvic fins typical of most Gobies. There are a few hundred of those, adding to the trouble identifying mystery species!>
I said what the heck I said I'd take it too. But I'm running out of ideas for identification. At least one person has suggested possibly a female desert goby, but the coloration & head shape doesn't seem quite right,
<It's not a Desert Goby (Chlamydogobius eremius).>
though I'm pretty sure its a female of some kind as its lacking in the extra coloration that males seem to have.
<Actually, it could very easily be a male, since it is quite nicely marked. For what it's worth, rather few gobies are truly sexually dimorphic; in most cases, males and females are very similar.>
I've attached a couple pictures, the one titled "goby1" taken right after I purchased the fish, its color has darkened up significantly in the intervening months, the other was taken today. Whatever the breed it is tolerating freshwater with apparently no problems.
<For now, at least. I'd recommend keeping it in a low-end brackish water tank, around SG 1.003-1.005. This will be tolerated by freshwater species, and appreciated by brackish water species, and since it's much more likely to be a brackish water than freshwater species, that's the best way to play the odds. Keeping this fish in purely freshwater is risky.>
It does not appear to have grown significantly in the mean time, but since I've no idea which type it is I may not be feeding it correctly.
<These small gobies tend to feed on small invertebrates, and compared to community fish, they're not easy to feed. Live daphnia, bloodworms, and to a certain extent brine shrimps are all good foods (brine shrimps are nutritionally poor, so shouldn't be anything other than a treat).
Wet-frozen equivalents may be accepted. Forget about flake or pellets; these won't be eaten.>
<You could find the Goby Group on the Yahoo Groups and see if someone there can identify this fish. For what it's worth, going by the probabilities, this is likely a small (to 5 cm) brackish water species that feeds on zooplankton and benthic invertebrates. You'd have to be unlucky/lucky to have a species that didn't match these requirements since most Gobies sold as "freshwater" fish do these things. Kept in a low-end brackish system with surface-feeding livebearers (like Guppies) it should do well. Shrimps and Nerite snails would make good tankmates, too. Cheers, Neale.>

Redigobius balteatus, S.E. Asian stream, amphidromous goby sys.   10/5/09
After searching for several years, I found Redigobius balteatus in my LFS.
I'm thrilled!
<A very nicely little fish.>
I am thinking about relocating the fish in my 20 gallon long and putting them in there and tweaking the tank to be a South Asian coastal stream and have read Neale Monks' article.
My tank already has a lot of Cryptocoryne wendtii with gravel substrate. I would like to change it to silica sand. Would the Crypts do okay in sand, and if not how should I keep their area in gravel and change the rest to sand?
<Crypts do just fine in sand. If you can place a bit of a plant-friendly substrate underneath the sand, and separate the two with a gravel tidy, then so much the better. But otherwise, keep the Crypts in their pots,
stick the pots in the sand, and feed the Crypts directly with good quality fertiliser pellets every month or two.>
I am going to get shells for the gobies, what is the type on the front cover of Neale's book?
<I think those are Apple Snail (Pomacea spp.) shells, but you would get similar results using "escargot" snails (Helix pomatia) that you can buy from deluxe food stores. Here in England at least, the escargot come in a tin packaged with a dozen empty shells in a plastic box. You can eat the escargot (very delicious, if garlicky) and save the shells for your gobies.
An alternative that works just as well is to use oyster shells. Again, buy these from a grocery store. Eat the oysters raw or steamed (or, if you don't like them, chop them up and freeze them for use as fish food). Grab
some silicone sealant, and glue a few oyster shells together to build an oyster reef, a very authentic brackish water habitat. Google "oyster reef" to see some pictures. So long as the two valves of the oyster shell stay
attached, you'll find these shells make very attractive hiding places for gobies. If wedged in the sand, gobies will also dig burrows underneath the oyster shells.>
Besides driftwood and rocks, what other aquascaping materials would be good?
<The main thing is to *avoid* adding anything too "marine" like big conch shells or fake corals, since these ruin the effect completely. Instead, concentrate on things that might have been washed down the river. Driftwood is good, but so are mangrove roots and big water-worn cobblestones. A few shells used sparingly are fine, but try to use ones authentic to brackish water habitats, such as oysters, rather than anything you'd see on a reef.>
Would leafs, coconuts, smaller crushed shells like the ones in the link below work?
<Used very sparingly: too much will raise the pH dramatically, and this will not be helpful for your plants. If in doubt, leave shells out other than the ones used as fish caves. Coconut shells work well, usually halved,
with small holes made in them for fish to swim in and out. Java moss attaches to them very well, making them look even prettier.>
For the first time I saw Crypt spirals (I believe Cryptocoryne spiralis)
would those belong in this biotope, and what about Vallisneria?
<Both of these should be fine up to SG 1.003. The only truly brackish water Crypt is Cryptocoryne ciliata, which will tolerate a higher salinity quite well. But most hardy Crypts are fine to SG 1.003 at 25 degrees C.>
Any thoughts or advice? Redigobius balteatus seem like a charming fish.
<They are indeed. Much like Bumblebees in maintenance, and they mix well with most small midwater fish. Wrestling halfbeaks for example would be lovely companions, since the two species would pose no threat to one another, and would be feeding at totally different levels of the aquarium.
If the tank had a large sandy area, one of the brackish water flatfish might also be used, since again, these don't feed during the daytime and they don't take food from the surface, so wouldn't compete with either
halfbeaks or gobies.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Redigobius balteatus
Hi Neale, thanks for your reply! I will look for Oysters next time I go to the grocery store.
I'll keep my eye out for Wrestling halfbeaks, how many could go in a twenty long?
<I'd get a group of 5-6, they're not very big. Around 5 cm/2 inches seems typical. Try and get more females than males though. They're called *Wrestling* halfbeaks for a reason!>
Also, for tankmates I read in an article you wrote that Heterandria formosa could go with them, what temperature should a tank with the gobies and Hets be kept at?
<These fish are pretty tolerant, and up to 25 C/77 F should be fine. They do prefer cooler conditions though, so on reflection, if you can get Micropoecilia picta instead, that would probably be a better choice.>
I've never had a sand substrate before, what sort of maintenance does it need?
<Minimal. Because dirt can't sink into sand, it's easier to see and remove.
A decent filter should suck up most of the dirt in a tank populated with small fish like these. Adding a few Melanoides livebearer snails, Amano shrimps or Cherry shrimps would help, as these little invertebrates will do a good job of picking up crumbs of food.>
Would the fish be okay if I kept the gravel instead of going to sand?
<They'd be okay with sand, but gobies do behave more naturally, and are more fun to watch, with sand. Plants also tend to do somewhat better.>
Are there any drawbacks to sand?
<None in small tanks with small fish. With big fish, there's a lot of silt, mostly things like faeces and uneaten food, and this doesn't get hidden in the same way as it does in gravel. (Note, gravel isn't cleaner, it's just
the bits of dirt sink into the gravel, so you can't see them.) Big fish also tend to swoosh sand into filter inlets if the filter inlet is too low down. But apart from sand being more difficult to clean at purchase, once in use, it's lovely stuff. Do see here:
Note that some sands sold for use in aquaria, such as Tahitian Moon Sand, aren't suitable for use with burrowing or bottom dwelling fish. The Carib Sea web site explains this nicely, but I can't speak for all
My water parameters are: ph 8, KH 7, GH 19. Would the Redigobius balteatus be fine if kept in straight tapwater?
<Not really, they really do appreciate a bit of salt. SG 1.003, about 5 grammes marine salt mix per litre, would do a great job and cost very little. Why risk it when keeping such rare fish? Do see the section on this
species in Naomi Delventhal's chapter in my Brackish Water Fishes book.
Most hardy plants would tolerate this well. Do see here for some suggestions of reliable plants:
There's some more on my Brackish Water FAQ, here:
Thanks for your help!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Redigobius balteatus, sys.   10/8/09
Hi Neale,
I found some play sand; there was an open bag and the sand felt soft to the touch, but looking at it seemed like the grains might be round. I just don't want the gobies to get hurt with the sand.
<Indeed. As I say, I always buy smooth silver (silica) sand from the garden centre because I *know* this is safe. If you think the play sand is also safe, then go for it. But I obviously can't offer any kind of assurance.>
With minimal plants (if the crypts don't do well I will switch over to java fern) how deep should the sand layer be?
<If you have Crypts, then the substrate needs to be at least a couple of inches deep. With Crypts, I'd highly recommend putting them in those plastic pots with rock wool, and then feeding them monthly or every other
month a suitable pellet fertiliser. While I have never had any problems keeping Crypts in sandy tanks, they do have big root systems and seem to enjoy the soil I put underneath the sand. If you aren't going to do that,
at least make a pellet of fertiliser available to them. Without the Crypts and just floating plants or plants attached to bogwood, use as little sand as you need. Enough to cover the glass and shore up any rocks or bogwood is all you need. An inch should be fine.>
At the grocery store I found clams with shells but no oysters; I am going to check another few out and see if I can find them.
<Good luck! You might also ask at any pet stores that sell marine fish.
Often they have a few empty shells from marine invertebrates that died. A big head of coral would look silly, but turbo snail shells would do the trick nicely. Likewise, empty Apple snail shells from pet stores that sell
these snails.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Redigobius balteatus, sys.  10/15/09
Hi Neale,
I decided I wanted to keep my fish in the 20 gallon and the gobies are not compatible with any of my fish... so I have ordered another fish tank. I am seeding filters right to move over to the new tank.
<Very good.>
The new tank is 40 gallons. I am thinking about getting 2 100 watt heaters for it instead of 1 200 watt heater.
Instead of doing crypts because they need so much substrate I am thinking about planting Vallisneria instead. Would that work with an inch of substrate?
<Possibly. I'm not sure I see any advantage to having one inch of substrate rather than two. If you want the shallowest possible bed of sand, then skip rooted plants altogether, and use epiphytes and floating plants instead.>
Instead of putting soil below the sand can I use root tabs to feed them?
I read your article on substrate, would play sand wash out the color in the gobies?
<Initially perhaps bright sand can wash out the colour of your fish, but once the sand ages, and especially once you provide some floating plants or large leafed plants for shade, it's less of an issue.>
No one carries oysters, but I can have them special ordered. Getting hinged oyster or clam shells is looking to be problematic, at the grocery stores they tell me to crack behind the shell splitting it in half. They say getting oysters and clams to open is very hard. :(
<Steam the live clams or oysters. When they're cooked, pull out the meat and add to whatever you want, e.g., marinara sauce. Then clean the shells, perhaps by using an old toothbrush to scrape away any traces of meat. Small amounts of meat aren't a big deal, and obviously things like snails and shrimps will quickly clean shells up very nicely.>
Thanks for your continued help!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Redigobius balteatus, sys.  - 11/07/09
Hi Neale, how are you?
<I am well, thanks for asking Michelle.>
For various reasons it is taking a little bit longer to get the tank up and going but it is on track. Couple questions if you don't mind:
<By all means.>
The oyster shells are rather sharp, should they be filed down?
<No need.>
Also, when I looked up Oyster Reef on the net I see pictures of hundreds of oysters together forming one long massive bed. Can you find pictures of more like I should be aiming for when gluing them together?
<What you're seeing is what you're after! You can be creative here. The idea is to glue the shells with the part call the umbo (the "hinge") inwards, and the gape (the "opening") outwards. Think of it like a bunch of
flowers made from oyster shells, so you're going to end up with something that has lots of openings pointing in lots of different directions.>
Is there a floating plant that will work in brackish water?
<At low salinities, up to SG 1.003, which should be fine for Redigobius balteatus, Indian Fern does just fine. Hornwort also tolerates low-end brackish conditions rather well.>
Should I move my seeded filters and set up the plants and get the fish in the tank when it is just fresh water and then adapt them to brackish, or can it be brackish from the start?
<I'd set the thing up as a freshwater tank, and then raise the salinity to SG 1.003 across a week, in a series of small water changes. Filter bacteria are usually fine, but plants can sometimes be a bit funny about being moved from one tank to another, even without changes in water chemistry. The fish will fine in freshwater for a few days.>
Thanks for your help!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Redigobius balteatus, sys.  11/17/09
Hi Neale,
I'm going to get the sand tomorrow. I read that pool filter sand is better in aquariums than play sand, do you have any thoughts on that?
<Hi Michelle. Generally I suggest people stick with smooth silica ("silver") sand from garden centres. This is cheap, definitely non-toxic, and works great in fish tanks. While you can use other sands, there's always a risk unless categorically stated safe for use in aquaria. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Redigobius balteatus
After a bunch more searching I found the answer to my question on WWM and I am going to pass on the pool filter sand.
Thanks for the great site!
<Glad we could provide the info you were looking for. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Redigobius balteatus   12/22/09
Hi Neale,
The tank is (finally) ready for the Redigobius balteatus!
How many should go in it (dimension 36"L x 15"W)? The store has almost thirty of them (and another LFS has about a dozen more).
<Hello Michelle. They are very much like Bumblebee Gobies, so you want to allow a gallon or two per specimen. At the same time, each must have a cave it can call home, for example a nice snail shell or a hollow ornament of
some sort. I think it's great your local stores have so many in stock: these are lovely little fish, sadly not as often traded as they should be.
Good luck with them! Cheers, Neale.> 

Re: Redigobius balteatus  12/24/09
Hi Neale,
Just wanted to let you know I brought the almost thirty home yesterday.
<I'm so jealous!>
They are really cool!
<Yes, they are.>
They spend most of their time swimming up and down along the sides of the tank. I fed frozen baby brine shrimp which they didn't seem to recognize as food, so I tried frozen blood worms which they slurped up.
<Nature's perfect food apparently... so many fish love them. But they aren't incredibly nutritious, so do try augmenting with other things. Surprisingly enough, BBGs go for tiny chunks of prawn and fish fillet, so by all means experiment. Wet-frozen glassworms and mosquito larvae are worth having to hand, and live daphnia and brine shrimp will certainly be taken.>
Some of the food went into the oyster shells and I tried to get out with a turkey baster, is their a shrimp that will act as a scavenger and be fine in brackish water (it is still fresh at the moment).
<Yes indeed! At the low-end brackish these gobies need, SG 1.003 to 1.005, you can certainly try plain vanilla Amano Shrimps, and at the lower end of that range, Cherry Shrimps are fine too. If you can get Red-nose Shrimps
(Caridina gracilirostris) that actually *prefers* brackish water. There's a great shrimp website called Petshrimp.com that has some very reliable species profiles.>
Most of them are very energetic. A few seem rather lethargic but I hope they will settle in.
<Will take time, and there will be some squabbling over hiding places. I dare say males are more aggressive than females, and therefore more likely to be swimming about.>
Do you have any other tips for them?
<Make sure they can't jump out! Easiest way to lose gobies. Otherwise these are quite adaptable animals. They're featured in both my brackish book and the Aqualog one, so if you can buy or borrow either book, you may find some useful stuff there about these gobies and gobies in general. In my book, a goby scientist called Naomi Delvental wrote the chapter on gobies, and it's really top-notch stuff. She goes into behaviour, breeding and so on.>
Thanks for all the help you have given!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Redigobius balteatus   12/28/09
Hi Neale,
Happy Holidays!
<Michelle, thank you, and I hope your holidays were/are good too.>
Some of the gobies haven't eaten yet. The store fed them live foods, I believe black worms. If I feed live worms is there any danger/problems that can go along with that?
<Live Tubifex can cause problems, but otherwise live mosquito larvae (Blackworms), midge larvae (bloodworms and glassworms), etc. are fine.
Brine shrimps are also good, though as a staple, somewhat lacking in nutritional balance.>
One of the gobies has secured itself to the back of the tank near the top and doesn't move around a lot. Some of them are so busy swimming they never stop and eat the food, and some sit on the sand completely ignore any
food I put near them.
<I dare say they're organising territories between themselves, and there'll be winners and losers. Take care there are adequate hiding places for all concerned; a handful of empty shells (apple snails, Escargot shells, whelk shells all ideal) can make a big difference. Do read up on shell dwelling Neolamprologus (Tanganyikan shell dwellers) for ideas.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Redigobius balteatus   1/11/10
Hi Neale,
<Hello Michelle,>
Do male Redigobius balteatus fights cause death?
<Unlikely, but certainly stressed fish can weaken or starve.>
I'm assuming male because they are the larger fish and have kind of squarish heads.
<Sounds about right.>
I've noticed two (I'm assuming) males getting dark and circling each other but they seemed to be displaying and not fighting. Last night they were both almost pitch black and one had the other pinned down on the sand, their jaws were locked.
<Much like Bumblebee Gobies, and indeed gobies generally. Since males protect the eggs, they're quite territorial.>
I got them separated and when they both back into their shells turned off the lights and put towels over the aquarium hoping the darkness would stop the fight.
<Moving their shells, rearranging territories would likely work better.>
When I turned the lights back on and fed them today they picked right back up with the fight. I tried to take one out of the aquarium but couldn't catch them. They eventually went back to their shells, the fights have been happening at feeding time. I'm wondering what to do to stop these fights.
<You can't "stop" fights, but you can minimise the risk of them being fatally dangerous. Add more and more hiding places, or else optimise the ones you have so they open in lots of different directions (if a male can't see a rival, he won't threaten a rival.>
I have almost twenty oyster shells in the tank. They are the only male fish that have taken up residence in the shell. The loser the in these battles has a smaller fish that has been living in his shell with him. So three fish total are using the shells as a home base and the two males are fighting. I have been hoping the pair in the shell would lay eggs.
<Will, given time.>
The males live very close to each other on the same side of the tank.
These are the shells they chose, there are shells all over.
<Move their homes, perhaps thinking about why this corner of the tank is more attractive. Is it near a filter? Or far away from it? Under shade?>
I have a large piece of driftwood that I could put in the tank if that would help create boundaries.
<One big boundary works much less well than dozens of small ones...
real/fake plants, other shells, twigs, etc. might be used.>
I haven't put it in because I think it will make trying to take uneaten food out harder.
<Ah, wouldn't worry too much about this. Once settled, gobies are quite easy to feed, even if you need a turkey baster to squirt frozen bloodworms or whatever into their patch of territory.>
Most of the other gobies spend the day swimming up and down along the side of the tank. The tank is 36" long and 15" wide and has lots of unused shells.
<Sounds nice.>
Six days ago a large male died overnight and I was really surprised because there was no sign to indicate he wasn't well. Now I am wondering if he was killed in a fight or because of an injury caused during a fight.
<Difficult to say.>
Also, I want to start putting salt in the tank. The buckets I use for water changes are also used on my other fresh water tanks.
<Not a problem. Assuming you empty the buckets completely, any remaining traces of salt left behind will be trivially small and of ZERO risk to your freshwater fish.>
Can I just add the Instant Ocean directly into the goby tank?
<No, you can't add salt in its dry form. But you can make up a brine solution, and then dribble in what's needed a bit at a time over half an hour. Let's say your tank contains 100 litres of water (it's easiest in litres) and you want to raise the salinity to 1.002 in one go (which would be safe for the fish and the filter). SG 1.002 at 25 degrees C is 5 grammes of marine salt mix per litre, so you simply get a jug of water, and add to it 100 x 5 grammes = 500 grammes. The resulting brine can be dribbled into the tank, maybe 10% each time, with a 5-minute wait in between to let the brine evenly distribute itself across the tank. Actually, if you had a 100 litre tank, allowing for rocks and gravel, you probably only have 80-90 litres of water, so you'd more likely make up a solution with 400-450 grammes of marine salt mix. You can play around with the amount of salt needed, and convert into ounces and gallons, using my Brack Calc tool, here:
When you're doing water changes, you can then add 5 grammes of salt per litre of water in each NEW bucket of water. So if you change 20 litres, each 10 litre bucket would have 10 x 5 grammes of salt added. You should use a hydrometer of some kind to keep tabs on salinity and to make sure your estimates (using weights of salt) are about right, though you may well find some very slight discrepancy that doesn't matter much. If you want to raise the salinity further, say to SG 1.005, do this by water changes. Each weekend, when you remove a litre of water, replace it with a litre that has (in this case) 9 grammes of marine salt mix added. So a 10 litre bucket would contain 90 grammes of salt mix. It's actually very easy, provided you remember that when doing water changes you ONLY add salt needed for that particular bucket of water replaced, and not the whole aquarium.>
Thanks for your help!
<Cheers, Neale.> 

Re: Redigobius balteatus food   4/26/10
Hi Neale,
How are you?
<Operating within established parameters.>
The Redigobius balteatus tank is going well. You mentioned before prawn and fish fillet can be fed to them. Do I buy this from the fish counter at the grocery store and keep in my freezer and when needed grind a little up and
<That's what I do!>
Just want to double check, this is raw uncooked food?
<Either. You may find the fish prefer the taste of one over the other. They like their tilapia raw for example, but their prawns either cooked or raw.>
I don't want to give them anything that will harm them, so I wanted to make sure this safe.
<Do risks either way. Raw food has more vitamin content of course. Do remember that freezing doesn't stop the action of thiaminase, so foods that contain thiaminase, such as prawns, become very vitamin deficient over time. Read Marco Lichtenberger's excellent piece on this issue, here:
Thanks again for your help!
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Redigobius balteatus food 4/27/10

Hi Neale,
Thanks for your help once again! :)
<No problems. Good luck, Neale.>

Identification of this fish - 6/1/07 > Hi, <Greetings> > My friend bought this fish from Singapore and he is not able to identify the fish. We searched all over the net but could not identify the correct species of the fish. It looks like a goby to me. It will be of great help if you can identify the fish for us. <Either a sleeper goby, family Eleotridae, or a "true" goby, family Gobiidae. Without seeing the pelvic fins I cannot be sure either way. In sleepers, the pelvic fins are separate, but in gobies they are fused to form a single "sucker". (Actually, it's more complex that this, but this distinction will do for now.) Identification to species level is difficult because that is now a species I have seen in the trade before. However, some generalizations can be made. Sleepers tend to be of medium size (around 10-20 cm being typical); very territorial; and sufficiently predatory that they should only be kept with fishes of similar size. The ideal sleeper diet includes things like insect larvae, small crustaceans, and occasional offerings of robust live foods such as earthworms and river shrimp. Gobies tend to be smaller (around 5 cm being typical); territorial; and non-predatory. Gobies almost always feed on plankton or plankton-sized animals that they sift out of mud or otherwise obtain somehow. Brine shrimp, daphnia, and so on work well for gobies. Water chemistry is difficult to predict because there are truly freshwater, brackish water, and marine species of both sleepers and gobies. However, as a baseline, keeping any unidentified sleeper or goby in brackish water at SG 1.005 is a good idea. That will not harm freshwater species and will be healthy for brackish water ones. Your fish has (to me) the look of a young predatory sleeper, because of the long snout. But as I say, without seeing the pelvic fins properly, I cannot be sure. > rgds > Deepesh <Cheers, Neale>

Re: Identification of this fish - 6/1/07 > > Thanks a lot for your opinion on this fish. It was much appreciated. > However, an expert on gobies has identified it as Glossogobius giuris. <Cool. Glossogobius giuris is one of the very, VERY few big, predatory gobies. As I said, *most* gobies are small. There are 2000 species, of which fewer than 50 species are anything like the size of the fish you have. I hope you have a suitable sized tank for that guy, because he's going to need it! My advice on water chemistry stands though, and behaviour too. This fish needs brackish water and is very territorial. Anyway, fantastic fish, and good luck with it.> > rgds> <Cheers, Neale>

Deleted. A "lifted" (e.g. stolen) photo from the Net.

Might have a Gobi on my hands? Desert dilemma?  1/28/07 Hi Crew, <Doug> You probably HATE this sort of question, first because I am nearly positive the answer is somewhere in front of me, and lastly because I am going to ask about a fish I have no photo of. <...> I am sorry for the inconvenience.  I would research the answer, but my toddler is screaming, <See to them... write back when you can...> and the fish is in the bag and floating.  Here is the issue.  I was raiding my LFS's feeder tank for ghost shrimp, and was fortunately able to get a few, but since invertebrates are not legal to sell in a pet store I was forced to take all the inhabitants of the "For Charlie"  (Charlie is the resident Oscar that is too big to sell) bucket, or leave it as is.  Now in addition to some ghost shrimp and a crayfish I have what I am told is a Gobi.  Is this fish better off with Tiger Barbs/Serpae Tetras/Glowlight Tetras, or Fancy Guppies/Neons, or would it be more humane to find somebody with a hungry fish?   <No way to tell...> For the time being he is in a 1 gal Betta tank by himself, 78 degrees and  under gravel filter The tank has been set up for 6 mo.s and is my seed tank for snails. Again sorry that I was not able to research this on my own.  I really tried, but I didn't even find a picture that resembled this fish, and there was just SO much information! Doug Alley <Not possible to give you direction Doug... as this would entail just a blind guess as to what you have... A pic next time. BobF> FW/BW Bumblebee Goby 10/10/06 I purchased a 'freshwater' Bumblebee goby three days ago and put him in my Endler's tank, an Eclipse 12. <No quarantine? I just lost upwards of 8 mollies in my brackish tank because of not quarantining a new addition for long enough...> There are eight adult Endler's in there, along with many tiny fry. It's heavily planted with Cabomba on top and lots of java moss on the bottom, along with a small piece of bog wood and a fake log. I have one tsp. of salt per gallon of water and the temperature is 75degrees. The problem is the Bumble Bee shows no interest in eating. I had hoped he would feast on the fry but they swim right past him and he ignores them. I even witnessed a small fry bump against his snout as it swam by.! He isn't shy, as now he spends much time resting on top of the moss in the middle of the tank. Any advice? <This is likely not a true "freshwater"...There are two distinct species of bumblebee gobies: Brachygobius xanthozona and Brachygobius nunus, the first being able to better "tolerate" freshwater, the latter needing strictly brackish (around 1.005 SG). See here for more info.: http://www.aquarticles.com/articles/breeding/McKane_Bumblebee_Gobies.html You will have to establish a separate brackish tank for the goby, or find a more suitable home (probably not the LFS, if they can't even correctly identify him) for him.  From what I know, Endler's livebearers can't handle brackish water; you should slowly acclimate the bumblebee, whichever species it is, to a more suitable salinity.  See also here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/bracgobioids.htm Thanks, Gregg. <Hope I've helped.  Jorie> FW/BW Mis-mixes  - 03/26/2006 First off, I just wanted to say that I love your site and you all do a great job.  I was just wondering what you thought about the mixture of fish I have in my 90 gal tank.  I currently have 2 red devils, 1 Florida gar, <Neat fish... illegal in many States... get way big> 1 green terror, 1 tiger Oscar, a small Pleco, 1 figure eight puffer, and 1 dragon goby. <These last two... are increasingly brackish with age, size... should they live...>   The biggest so far is the red devil at about 7 in. <I'll bet! Some of these are really devils!> So far I have had the tank for about 4 months with no casualties. Everyone seems to be getting along swimmingly.  I am worried though that with this size tank there will not be enough room for all species when they reach their full potential. <To put this mildly> I have gotten so attached to them all I can't bare to let one go. (Unless it's for their own good.)   <You need at least two more tanks... and a lake if you're going to try raising the lepisosteid> I do weekly water changes, vary their diet, etc.... and treat them all with the care they deserve.  What do ya think? Thanks - Steve, MI <A brackish tank, an easier going cichlid tank.... See WWM re these species systems, compatibility... Bob Fenner>

FW Goby ID  2/18/06 I  am trying to identify my goby, I was wondering if you could tell me what goby is more popular in the aquarium trade: a Dormitator maculatus or a Dormitator lebretonis? Are there any other species of gobies that look like these? I think my goby is either a Dormitator maculatus or a Dormitator lebretonis. He has a blue spot just behind his gill on each side and a spotted line pattern down each of his body. He is less then 2 inches in length. I have had over 400 replies on various fish forums but no certain identification. I have searched on google but no luck, I need to know what each species looks like as a juvenile. If you could send me a photo of a juvenile Dormitator maculatus or Dormitator lebretonis or any info that would be greatly appreciated. Or if you could give me a list of popular sold freshwater or brackish water gobies that would be great. Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. Eva < Dominator maculatus is the one that is written on the most , so we can assume that this is the most common one in the aquarium trade too. Your description is consistent with the photos. -Chuck>

FAQ on Sleeper Gobies ... Butis butis ID, beh.  4/26/06 Hi, <Hello there> I was just browsing around your site and noticed there was someone on the sleeper goby FAQ enquiring about information with regards to a  bony-snouted gudgeon, the other common names duckbill sleeper and crazy fish were also mentioned. This fish is Butis butis, the person  asking wasn't sure because of the colouration, Butis butis can change colouration to match it's environment so its quite variable and most  likely was the source of confusion. They're an ambush predator that generally feed on small fish and crustaceans, and will generally only  take live food. They're from the tropical Indo-Pacific region and found in fresh water right through to marine conditions (low to mid  range brackish seems to be optimal). They like lots of overhanging cover to hide and ambush fish from, I find that mine is particularly  fond of branches, it spends most of its time upside down clinging to the underneath of the branches in my tank watching the small fish swimming past, waiting to pounce.  I'm guessing the information request is somewhat dated now so this information probably wont be a huge help the person who was asking  but maybe it will help someone in future if you can update the FAQ.   If you have any further questions about this amazing fish I'd be more than happy to help out. Regards Kari. <Thank you much for this input. Will post along with... Bob Fenner> Peacock Gudgeons - Feeding Fry - 12/18/2005 Hello, <Hi, Jocelyn!  Sabrina with you, today.  I apologize for the delay in response - responded on your thread on our forums, as well, some days ago.> I was wondering if you knew whether or not Tateurndina ocellicaudus (Peacock Gudgeon) fry would take frozen rotifer food? <Mm, I think it unlikely.  I would use newly hatched baby brine shrimp.> My peacock gudgeons spawned on Saturday, and now that the babies are developing but not hatched, I need to find food for them ASAP. A little late to think of it I know, but I thought getting microworms would be easier than it actually is. <Indeed.  BBS is your best bet, here.> So now I'm trying to find alternate solutions. If you have any suggestions I'd really appreciate a response. <What are you feeding the adults?  I had tremendous success with mine and Spectrum marine pelleted food.  Apparently, they rarely take prepared foods, and when they do, VERY rarely spawn on prepared foods - I fed mine Spectrum exclusively (tried many others, as well) and (much to my dismay) the fish bred like clockwork.  They were in a tank at work - I was trying to get them NOT to spawn!  Fish will do as they intend, I suppose.  Beautiful animals, aren't they?  Almost like a killifish.> Thank you,  -Jocelyn <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Sleeper Goby, Zero Info - 11/03/2005 My sleeper goby is vertical in the tank. He seldom moves his tail. The other fish in the 75 gal. tank are all well. It is almost as if he is standing still. <First.... please.... everyone reading: capitalize beginnings of sentences, names.... Second.... Keith, there is just not nearly enough information here to go off. Please start by reading some of the articles and FAQs already archived on the site, about water quality, health and disease, gobies....> Thank you. Keith Stimac <Wishing you well, -Sabrina>  <<Thank you for fixing, Sabrina.  Marina>>

Bichir and Large Marbled (Sleeper) Sand Goby...Can they be friends? 8/15/05 I have a 55gal tank with a large (17+in) Marbled (sleeper) Sand Goby in it. He has been in it for years spending time with just his feeder fish friends, and nothing else. I recently purchased an Ornate Bichir and have him in his own 30gal tank. He too just has the company of feeder friends. Is it possible for the two to co-exist when the Bichir gets a little bigger( in the 55gal of course)? If so how big should he get before I try it. He is about 9" now. <Mmm, possibly... the goby, being in too small a volume, only kept with intended food fishes, may attempt to eat the Bichir. Bob Fenner> Goby ID  7/13/05 Hello there, <Hi, Pufferpunk here> I just bought a goby. The store said it was a Blue Gudgeon Goby. When I look it up on internet and click on a site the picture doesn't look like the one I just got. It has a few blue stripes on its head and neck and blue spots on its tail both sides. Could you please tell me the exact name on this goby? Thanks Cody <Try looking up purple spotted gudgeon, Mogurnda mogurnda or Mogurnda adspersa.  ~PP> Breeding The Marbled Goby Dear Bob, <Edgar> I have tons of questions about marbled goby since it caught my attention that seems nobody can breed them in captivity. Can they be breed in aquarium ? <As far as I know, Oxyeleotris marmorata has been in captivity: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=5376&genusname=Oxyeleotris&speciesname=marmorata This is an important food/aquaculture species in S.E. Asia> what's the different between male and female ? <Perhaps a difference in girth during gonad maturation?> do they breed like gudgeon ? <I suspect you are correct here> how come I couldn't find this information on the net? <It may be "proprietary"... a business secret... or likely, a matter of scientific, rather than hobbyist interest... You might try a large/college library search: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/litsrchart.htm> I've search all over the place and now I plea for your help. Edgar Tjai. <Perhaps you will be the one to do this, write it up... Bob Fenner> Freshwater fish identifications, ChuckR Hi there I need to identify two fish to find out more about them. The one was called a "black widow" in the shop I bought it from. Its shape is very similar to a silver dollar. It is mostly black on the top half of its body and the tail is silver. Aprox 2cm long. I've looked everywhere for information on this fish but can not get anything, except black widow tetra, which I do not think it is. (saw a picture somewhere) < The black skirt tetra is sometimes called the black widow tetra. If this is not your fish then you will need to provide more info like a photo.> The other fish is definitely a goby, no doubt about that. It is white with black spots, and a small black "stripe" at the back of its top fin. The sizes are aprox 3 & 5cm each. The shop owner said its a spotted goby and that the female is the bigger one of the two, but alas, I can find no information/pictures on what it actually is. It is a very shay fish. <Look at photos of the knight goby (Stigmatogobius sadanundio ). Males have longer fins.> Both are freshwater fish. I've got two male guppies in the tank and sometime during today, the one lost half of its tail fin. I doubt that it will be the "black widow" because they've been sharing a tank for 2 months now. < The gobies are capable of biting the tail of smaller fish thinking that they are food.-Chuck> Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in anticipation. Jaco Ps. If it is a stupid question or I can find the info somewhere else, please tell me so.

Freshwater fish identifications, BobF Hi there I need to identify two fish to find out more about them. The one was called a "black widow" in the shop I bought it from. Its shape is very similar to a silver dollar. It is mostly black on the top half of its body and the tail is silver. Aprox 2cm long. I've looked everywhere for information on this fish but can not get anything, except black widow tetra, which I do not think it is. (saw a picture somewhere) <Likely a Black Skirt Tetra... there are varieties, differences within this species: http://freshaquarium.about.com/cs/characins2/a/blackwidow.htm> The other fish is definitely a goby, no doubt about that. It is white with black spots, and a small black "stripe" at the back of its top fin. The sizes are aprox 3 & 5 cm each. The shop owner said its a spotted goby and that the female is the bigger one of the two, but alas, I can find no information/pictures on what it actually is. It is a very shy fish. <Maybe a knight goby: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/bracgobioids.htm> Both are freshwater fish. I've got two male guppies in the tank and sometime during today, the one lost half of its tail fin. <Could be from either of the above> I doubt that it will be the "black widow" because they've been sharing a tank for 2 months now. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanking you in anticipation. Jaco Ps. If it is a stupid question or I can find the info somewhere else, please tell me so. <Be chatting, Bob Fenner who encourages you to investigate before you buy livestock>

Feeding Peacock Gudgeons - 12/15/2004 Hi, <Ahoy thar, matey!> I have four peacock gudgeons, but I am having trouble feeding them. <Not exactly uncommon.  These can be finicky feeders.> They are in a tank with about 25 Neons.  At feeding time, the Neons go crazy, scaring the poor gudgeons away.   <This is very definitely a problem.  You may find that the two species simply are not compatible.> Any suggestions about how I can get some food to the gudgeons? <Well, first off, the gudgeons may simply refuse prepared foods.  It can be a touch tricky to get them to take anything other than live foods, at first.  I got my pair onto Spectrum marine pellets rather quickly; it took them a few days to understand that it was food, but once they tasted it, they ate with gusto.  On top of that, they have been breeding like clockwork on just the spectrum.  Definitely offer them a very high quality food, or start them with live foods if all else fails.  Some ideas to keep the Neons at bay - feed the Neons a floating food on one side of the tank, and the gudgeons a sinking food on the opposite side (Spectrum sinks, by the way).  If necessary, divide the tank.  Best option of all is to remove the gudgeons to their own tank - but be aware that if you have a male and female, they will establish dominance over the other two gudgeons and possibly cause some harm.  These are beautiful fish, and well worth the bit of effort it may take to get them eating.  Good luck with them.> Thanks,  Nate <Wishing you and your gudgeons well,  -Sabrina>

Bulging Dragon Hi, I was recently on your web page and noticed that you have a lot of info on dragon gobies. Well I bought one about 4 weeks and it is doing really good, he eats, swims along the bottom and has no apparent health problems. He is in a 20 gallon community tank and when I bought him I noticed a bulge and it did not hinder him and it is still their and it has only gotten a little bigger. So I was wondering if you could tell me what this bulge could be, how long dragon fish live and any possible way to breed them. Thank you for your time, Stephanie <Hi, Don here. Hard to say what it is by the simple description you are giving. But it is never wise to bring home a pet that you know is not healthy. In fact even fish that look healthy should be put in a QT tank for a month before they go in your tank. Now that I got that off my chest, is the bulge localized, like a small marble under the skin, or a more general swelling? A marble like bulge could be a tumor which you can do nothing for. A more general swelling would point to an internal infection of some sort. It could be bacterial, protozoan, or even worms. Since I believe these are all wild caught fish, it could be anything. Another possibility is incorrect water conditions. These are brackish fish. They would do well with other salt loving fish, like Mollies. Keeping them in freshwater will cause health problems. Not sure of life spam and I do not think they have been bred in captivity. Did not see any breeding info in my brief search.> Violet Goby Aggression Hi, I just have a question that I've been wondering about for awhile.  I have two violet gobies that are both 11" long (they started out at about three inches long a year ago) in a 50 gallon tank along with a clown knife fish, a fire eel, spiny eel, and ropefish.  I'm moving the other fish to a 130 gallon in a week or so and turn the 50 gallon into a brackish water setup.  The nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia are all at zero and I add salt after every water change (25% once a week with a gravel vac).  When I first got my dragonfish they were completely friendly and stayed together all the time.  They still stay side-by-side constantly and act as if there aren't even any other fish in the tank (they stay to themselves) but, occasionally, they bite at each other.  They'll be motionless one moment, then one will suddenly start pulling on the others tail or bite his body.   Their bodies don't actually get damaged, but their tails and fins get a bit ragged.  I figured that they do this because they might both be males and have become territorial once they matured, but then wouldn't they stay at their own areas of the tank instead of cuddling?  Are they maybe male and female and this is some kind of a mating ritual or something?  They also love digging into the gravel to make caves and dens, so maybe they're trying to create nests?  I was just wondering if maybe you had some answers. < There are no known external differences between the sexes and they have never been spawned in captivity. They are territorial and well known for their ability to bury themselves in soft sand. Your observations may be a courtship dance leading to spawning or just two males settling a dispute over turf.-Chuck> Thanks. Dayton

Freshwater Jawfish??? hi there, <Hello> i recently read in the TFH magazine about the Jawfish. i found it's decorating behaviour very interesting. this little fish would be just a reason for me to set up a saltwater tank if i would have the possibility. my favourite place in the house is in the armchair next to the fish tank where i watch the fish while reading or just to switch off my mind. <I can/do relate> i am keeping freshwater fish/ coldwater species. even though i am living in Queensland/ Australia i do not heat the tank or the room the tank is in. the result is that the water temperature drops to ~14 degrees in winter because it gets quite chilly here during the night. on the other side in summer the water can get around 32 degrees easily. i keep a bristlenose pair together with a school of 5 duboulayi rainbows which we find in our surrounding waterways, a "left-over" goldfish and 5 bitterling with their mussel in a 4 feet/~170l (42gallon) tank. my fish are doing fine for years. they are growing and breeding although i don't try to hatch the eggs and show their best colour. <Likely partly due to the thermal fluctuation...> so far i found out that the Jawfish belong to the gobies and in that family there are marine and freshwater fish. is there anything similar in behaviour to the yellow-headed Jawfish for the freshwater aquarium? cheers Silvia <Mmm, strictly speaking, all "Jaws" are marine: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/FamilySummary.cfm?ID=366 but as you point out, there are fish groups, namely the Blennioids and Gobioids that have freshwater and brackish members that do display many Jawfish behaviors (digging, burrowing... though not mouth-brooding). You might direct your attention to some of these found there in Australia. There are a few good reference works on native fishes around you... as well as resources like Fishbase.org that can be searched by region and water type. Bob Fenner>

Mogurnda mogurnda! Hi- I'm trying to find information on a particular type of goby called a mogurnda, mogurnda. I need to know the Latin name for this fish. <Hope this isn't shocking....  The Latin name is (genus/species)....  Mogurnda mogurnda!!  Really.  I'm not kidding.  Here's the Fishbase info. on this fish:  http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=22759&genusname=Mogurnda&speciesname=mogurnda > He has very unusual eyes- kind of a bluish-green. I was told he comes from S. America. <This species, no.  Most freshwater and brackish gudgeons/gobies are from Australia and New Guinea, some from Asia....  A handful of South American Gobioids, like Dormitator maculatus, do show up in the hobby> Thank you. Lisa Griffin <Any time, Lisa!  Wishing you and your goby pal well,  -Sabrina>

Jade goby illness <Hi Laurie, Pufferpunk here> Good morning crew.  I happened upon your site this morning looking for information on the jade goby.  I am getting sorta desperate.  I have a 150 gl with two (2) 450 Fluval media filters.  Natural gravel and plastic plants.  I have put lava rock, slate and lots of interesting rocks (cleaned well before adding) to the tank over time.  It houses a variety of Africans and includes a rope fish, a fire eel, a spiny eel (hand feed - I love that) and a jade goby.  The goby seems to have constant eye problems.  It started on his fins and I suspected high ammonia as he spends a lot of time on the bottom, but that is not the problem.   <How long has this tank been set up?  What are your ammonia & nitrates?  For healthy fish, they both should be 0.> My eels and pleco are fine.  Only the goby.  It seems to get better with treatment, but then reoccurs and is now pretty bad.  Mostly just one eye.  Typical cloudy eye as appears with typical fungus/infection.  I can not seem to get it cleared up.  I have treated the tank several times with an antibacterial tea tree extract that usually works well on any fin rot or wounds in the past.   <Are you using Melafix?  That is what I would recommend.  Also lots of water changes, until you have 0 ammonia & nitrites.> All my fish are fine except the goby.  I would really like to find something or method to treat and get him well.  I love my sleeper and hate to see him suffer.  Need some advice on what to treat in this large tank that will not affect my eels. <Keep treating w/Melafix for a week after the eye clears up.  I buy the stuff by the gallon.  It's made for ponds, but you can use it on regular aquariums. With a tank that large you'll need it, unless you have a cycled hospital tank you can doctor your goby in.  You still need to clear up that ammonia, it's not good for any of your fish.  I do 50% 7-10 day water changes on all my tanks, cleaning the gravel as I go.   If they aren't used to that, you should start with 25%/day, until you have the ammonia level at 0.>   <Good luck--Pufferpunk>

PP puffer treatment, garlic <Pufferpunk again> Thanks for the reply.  My ammonia is 0.   <Then why did you suspect ammonia as the problem cause?  Are you testing before or after water changes?> I have a lot of fish so monthly gravel clean/water changes are done faithfully.   <Monthly isn't often enough.> Yep, MelaFix is what I use.   I too use a lot.  Nitrate... will look further into that.  I also increased the temp and added more salt in-between MelaFix treatments when I suspected the eye of starting to cloud.  I am thinking that a hospital tank with higher salt content??  I have also been told to garlic soak my sleepers food to increase immunity for future.  What is your take on the garlic.  Thanks . <I've never used garlic.  I've heard pros & cons on the subject.  Some folks swear by it & others think it's a waste if $$$. From what I've read, some say it has helped w/internal & external parasites.  See: http://store.yahoo.com/inlandreef/garxtrem1oz.html.  I'd increase water changes, as cloudy eye is a sign if poor water quality--Pufferpunk>

Fishbase locked? (also goby compatibilities) Fishbase.org is a closed site now! Whatever will I use for learning about my fish anymore! *Overreacts* Eh, hypocrites. <you are mistaken here, my friend... it is open and we have been using it all night. I just tried it from the main, German and French servers. Do check again.> In any case, I was looking to figure out a bit more about a dragonish, aka Gobioides broussonenti. <read more here (follow all links at bottom too): http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=3856&genusname=Gobioides&speciesname=broussoneti > When I first saw the oversized goby, I figured it was an eel in any case. The question is if these gobies are aggressive or not. <they are not... instead they are difficult to feed/keep planktivores> My mollies and my Tiretrack eel are flourishing in a very low end brackish aquarium, <you will need this or more salt for this goby> the eel devouring blood worms like nobody's business and even growing half an inch to an inch in only a week. What I'm wondering about is if there would be a conflict between this 5.5" eel and a dragon eel goby which is about 6" or 7" long and considerably wider. <perhaps... but more importantly, the goby will be outcompeted if not intimidated by the active feeding of the other fishes. It is an inappropriate mix. Please resist> The people at the store (PetCo, figures...), completely uneducated as to what fish they even had, were not much help as to giving much info. I was the one to re-educate them as to what they even were carrying, but still I don't know what kind of behavior I would expect from it. In my high end brackish aquarium my two small bumblebee gobies have the audacity to compete for food with the larger green spotted pufferfish, which gives me the impression that a dragonish would also be aggressive when it comes to food, and more importantly, territory. <neither is true/correct> There are tons of little holes and caves where the Tiretrack eel hides (Road kill is his name btw), and apparently dragonish don't seem to like to hide anywhere in the tanks at the store. Can I safely house this big guy or would I just be better off getting a couple of the knight gobies that I have been eyeing lately. <the knight gobies are much better choices... hardy and tolerant> P.S. I finally put in a couple of new 10,000K fluorescent bulbs to fix my plant degradation, and now there is almost a mutagenic growth going on in there. In only a matter of 2 days sword family plants have grown at least 2 inches and my wisterias have gone from twigs to pine trees. Thanks for the reference to that. <best regards, Anthony>

Gobioides broussonenti Hi Bob, A little helpful info for you concerning the Violet Goby. The greatest difficulty in keeping this fish is to adjust your salinity until it is suitably "brackish". Feeding these fish is a breeze because they simply love brine shrimp pellets. Very fascinating species, hardy and a lot of fun to observe. They are so ugly that you cannot help but like them. Scott Hill A fish enthusiast! <Outstanding! Thank you for your input. Will post... and can assure you, you have saved many of these fishes from short, hungry stints in aquariums. Bob Fenner>

Knight Gobies - Suddenly Dead (03/03/03) Hi, <Hi. Ananda here, unhappy to hear that someone had bad luck with one of her favorite types of fish...> I have a mystery that I am hoping that you can shed some light on.   <Will give it a shot...> I have a 30-gal freshwater tank that has 4 dwarf Gouramis, 2 Bala sharks (recently moved from another tank), a 2 month old rosy barb, and 2 knight gobies (until yesterday).  The tank set up is relatively new, about 1 month, but the rocks and some of the plants came from another tank that has been running for over a year. (No sick fish there)   <When did you move the rocks and plants? When you started the tank? Or just recently?> I have been feeding freeze dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, and slow sinking pellets. <I'm not a fan of brine shrimp, except when they're used to entice fish that otherwise won't eat... your fish should have a bit more variety than this.> Last night I discovered both gobies dead side by side on the bottom of the tank.  When I removed them from the water they looked as if they had been dead for several days.  Their fins were badly decomposed.   <Hmmm. Badly decomposed, or perhaps nibbled-upon?> The mystery is that they were alive earlier in the day (I feed some brine shrimp and watched everyone eat for a while.), and showed no signs, that I could tell, of illness.  I have closely examined all the other fish, and they all look fine.  All the fish got along well, and I never saw any evidence of the gobies being harassed by the others.   <I am curious about your water quality -- ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, temperature... the gobies, being scaleless fish, were the most sensitive of the bunch when it comes to water quality. I would do a water change immediately to deal with any possible ammonia.> Should I worry about the others?  What would cause them to die suddenly, but not harm the other fish? <Ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate poisoning would affect those fish first. The others might not be out of danger, which is why I'm suggesting a water change ASAP. Another possibility -- the rock you took from another tank -- was it ever in a tank that was treated with a copper-based medication? Gobies and other scaleless fish can not tolerate copper.> Any help you can give would be appreciated.  I'm really worried about my other fish. <Understandably so. Do check out the various freshwater FAQs and the WetWebFotos chat forums. --Ananda> Laura Crouch

RE: Knight Gobies - Suddenly Dead (03/05/03) Ananda, Thank you so much for your input.   <Glad I could help.> The rocks were moved when I started the new tank.  (They were white and my Pictus Cats did not like them so rather than throwing them out I decided to recycle them.)  I think you may have hit upon something with the rocks.  I had to treat for Ick about three months ago.  I would never have dreamed that it would harm anyone. <Many things we put in our tanks have the potential to harm fish -- even those that are designed to help fish. With any scaleless fish -- gobies, loaches, puffers and others -- you need to be especially careful what you add to the tank. You could probably save the rock by putting it in an empty tank with a Polyfilter.> I did a complete water change last night and replaced with new rocks.  Everyone else still looks happy and healthy.  I am going to let the tank run for a couple of months before I add any more fish. <Sounds like a good idea to me.> Thank you! <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Knight Gobies Hi, I have some Knight Gobies that spawn on a regular basis. I get the eggs to hatch, but can't keep the fry alive any more than about 2 days. I use infusoria to feed with. Can you advise. Thanks and God Bless, Ed I will forward this message to a friend of ours...Dr Sallie Boggs. She is a brilliant aquarists and grand master breeder (national accolades) with a flavor for gobies and blennies. Best regards, Anthony>

Re: Knight Gobies I had the same experience when my Knight gobies were breeding. Then I did not have a culture of rotifers. Now I have rotifers I use for marine fish and no breeding gobies. I believe the goby fry could eat the rotifers . Both gobies and rotifers like brackish water. Rotifers can be obtained from Reed Mariculture or Florida Aqua Farms or a friendly marine fish breeder. If you live in Pittsburgh area you can get them from me. Sallie

Fear, Fish Behavior I have a 5.5 gallon tank with 4 balloon mollies and two bumblebee gobies. The Nitrite levels are good, the ammonia levels are good, I have added salt to the water, and the pH is fine. The mollies eat fine, but the gobies just seem to hide, and are not eating. I do feed live foods as recommended. Is there a chance the gobies are afraid of the mollies, and thus want to keep a low profile? Thanx. James Kim <in such a small tank, yes... the gobies may simply be intimidated by the activity of the more assertive fish. But admittedly, they are not gregarious fish to begin with. Anthony> PS How long before the gobies die? <shouldn't let them go more than 5-7 days without food. Do move them to another tank or trade them back, please>

mainly brackish gobies Hi Bob! Well, the spinning molly died a couple of days ago. She wouldn't eat, even when I tried live black worms, so I wasn't surprised. <Sorry to learn of your loss> The ghost shrimp experiment is going well. They seem to be tolerating the SGs up to 1.008 without much difficulty once they get past the initial transition period. Some of them haven't survived the transition, but in those cases, the gobies haven't complained about the extra treats. Oddly enough, the candy-striped gobies aren't interested in the shrimp, even though they are easily large enough to eat them. I had an entertaining time watching one of my so-called "butterfly gobies" trying to eat a ghost shrimp that was bigger than itself. The shrimp got away for a while, and then goby was "stalking" the shrimp. Quite amusing. I don't know what the "butterfly gobies" really are, but they definitely aren't true gobies. They look sort of like miniaturized dwarf lionfish, mottled brown and beige and about 1" long, and nothing like the marine butterfly goby, Amblygobius albimaculatus. Do you know if this fish is a sculpin, or a scorpienidae, or is it something else entirely?  <Beige mostly? Maybe Stigmatogobius: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/brgobioids.htm> LMK if a photo would of my fish would help; I don't have a photo of them yet since it's hard to get the digital camera to focus on them (it's a bit *too* automated). <Check to see if you can "turn off" the automated (focus) feature... Bob Fenner> Thanks, Ananda

Ropes and Dragons Robert, I have a 45 gallon freshwater live plant setup. PH7.6 Hardness apx10 Ammonia and nitrite at zero. I recently purchased two new rope fish and a pleco (I think that's what it's called).  <Mmm, maybe a member of the family of mainly South American Sucker Mouth Catfishes, Loricariidae: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/loricariids.htm> The two rope fish died within two days and a day later the rope that I've had for 6 months died. <Not unusual to have new Ropes bring in disease, stress... Our coverage of this and the related Bichirs: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/bichirs.htm> Then last night my small dragon Goby died. The ropes got the "glassy" eyes and discoloration before they died and the Dragon lost a lot of weight and showed a large white section on it's tail before it died. So far the other inhabitants haven't shown any problems; they are: a larger Dragon Goby (about 6"), two Bala Sharks, 1 Clown Loach, 1 Pleco (algae eater), and several neon tetras. I did a 20% water change and filter maintenance after the first two died and I've been running my Diatom XL (normally for polishing only) a couple hours a day. Any possibilities you can offer will be greatly appreciated. <I would do what you have done... and add some activated carbon/powder to the diatom> As a side note. I have already purchased a cheapy 10 gallon setup to use as a quarantine tank in the future.  <Good idea> You might also be interested to know that the fish came from Pet not so) Smart. <Yikes...> Thanks Again Tom Peterson Kissimmee, Fl <Sorry to hear of your trials and tribulations. Steady on my friend. You're moving in more positive directions. Bob Fenner>

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